In 2004, the anthropologist Ian Condry wrote, “There is reason to believe we are all becoming otaku.” This process of “otaku-ization,” whereby more people become “extreme specialists within a media world,” is “altering the social meaning of consumption.”1 This prediction has stayed in the back of my mind as I have witnessed the emergence of fangirls/fanboys and “toxic fandom” in American media culture. If the term otaku originally carried pathological connotations in Japan, those have carried over into North American discourse. Toxic fans feel special possession and entitlement to the object of their adoration: they “believe that creators owe their success to them so everything should go their way.”2 Superhero aficionados are disgusted by dilettantes who enjoy Marvel Cinematic Universe films but have never read the comics. Self-styled Jedi Masters howl when franchises such as Star Wars diversify their casts with female heroes and actors from underrepresented populations....

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